This was an extraordinary game in a number of ways. Semi final of the Yorkshire Cup, it was officially a home game for Harrogate. However, as their old ground has finally been departed and no longer available, the new ground not quite ready (although it looks very smart, at Rudding Park; I passed it on the way), the game was played at the home of Wetherby Rugby Club. For me it was a second trip to Wetherby in the space of a week. Very friendly and helpful welcome from the Wetherby staff at the gate and the groundsman, a former player with both Wetherby and Ilkley. Their description of the currently successful Wetherby side has made me think very seriously about going to see their last home game of the season next weekend.
It was a warm, bright Spring day. The last time I took photographs of Harrogate was their game at Otley. One of my favourite games of the season photographically, freezing cold and incredibly muddy, the conditions couldn't have been more different to today. Sadly for Wheatley Hills, Harrogate were too strong, steadily amassing points throughout the game, finally reaching a total of 52 without reply.
Love the expression on the young player's face, top pic above. You can tell he's realised that he's going to score a try, maybe even his first for the senior side (quick update: now confirmed this is so - his name is Harry Barnard). He got another shortly after. On the second shot, the experts say with sports photos you should get tight in on the action. Certainly with many of ickledot's rugby pictures, the background is either empty or plain, the main interest being in the foreground. However, in this case the surroundings looked so beautiful; the rolling hillsides bathed in spring sunshine, sheep grazing peacefully, it seemed a shame not to make it part of a shot. Two blokes in a field doesn't look so bad!